Denil is one of five children. His father is a carpenter and his mother works as a cleaning lady. Denil has been in and out of the hospital since birth with episodes of not being able to breathe. Each time this happened, his parents would rush him to the hospital. At the hospital, Denil would receive only enough treatment to stabilize and go home again because his parents did not have money for any diagnostic tests.

Finally, when Denil was five years old, a doctor told his parents that he needed heart surgery. They looked for help from charitable agencies in Santa Cruz, but no one would help them. They went to local TV stations and asked for air time to plea for help, but their request was denied. Meanwhile, the hospitalizations continued.

First they lost their house. Then, the lot of land that they lived on was raffled off to pay the hospital bills.  Finally, Denil’s dad had to sell all of his carpentry machinery and tools to pay the bills. Each time that Denil was admitted to the hospital, Denil’s mother had to quit her job to stay with him in the hospital. She would sit in a chair beside his bed for days at a time.

Denil’s parents had lost hope of being able to help their son. They knew that surgery was not a possibility. It was hard enough just to feed their family and keep up with the hospital bills. Then someone told them about Mission of Hope.

When Denil came to the Mission of Hope clinic in October of 2011, he was 13 years old and weighed only 57 lbs. He was so weak, he could hardly walk. His parents said his condition was worsening, that he had no appetite and that he was losing weight. He was often sent home from school because of extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. The Mission of Hope clinic arranged for Denil to visit a hospital in Cochabamba, Bolivia that specializes in heart surgery for children.

Denil was evaluated and put on a special diet. When he returned to Santa Cruz a week later, he had gained 10 lbs! Doctors determined that Denil was in very critical condition and urgently needed surgery for an aortic value replacement.

Many of you sent gifts designated for Denil’s heart surgery. On February 21st, 2012, Denil had a successful aortic valve replacement and a very successful recovery without any complications. Denil is so happy that he had the opportunity to have surgery! He says that now he does not get tired! He is back in school and leads a normal life. A big “Thank you!” to all who gave. Together, we are making a difference!